United States presidential election, 2012
The next primaries are on Tuesday, March 6 -- "Super Tuesday." Ten states are voting on that day with 419 delegates at stake. The next (and as of now last) Republican debate is scheduled for March 19.
The Presidential Election 2012 is on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. No incumbent has won reelection in the past 70 years with unemployment above 7.2%; reported unemployment is currently over 8% (and real unemployment much higher) only 9 months before the election. Barack Obama also cannot win reelection unless he carries Florida, where he has a high disapproval rating; he is likewise polling poorly in the key swing states of Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina.
The Republican Party is in the process of selecting its nominee through the 2012 Republican Primary, and the latest delegate totals can be viewed here - but beware of tallies that show the Florida delegates as winner-take-all when Republican Party rules prohibited that prior to April 1 and Gingrich has indicated he will challenge it.
It is virtually impossible for a candidate to win a majority of the Republican delegates before June 2012. About 1,144 delegates are needed to win the nomination. Primaries held before April 1, 2012, will award delegates based on the proportionality of the votes (except Florida claimed to award winner-take-all, at half the delegate count, for its primary on Jan. 31). Beginning on April 1, the traditional winner-take-all system may be used by states, but the second biggest state, Texas (155 delegates), will be proportional, and the biggest state, California (172 delegates), will be winner-take-all by each of its 53 congressional districts. Only seven primaries totalling a small number of delegates are winner-take-all; New York will only be winner take all if one candidate wins more than 50% of the vote. The dates of the primaries are here.
Ranking by Likelihood of Winning Republican Nomination
|Jeb Bush||Jeb is the most likely to win if none of the final four candidates can gain a majority of the delegates; in the general election, Jeb is sure to win Florida and Obama cannot win reelection without Florida; George W. Bush's book sold far better than expectations, making the name an asset again; Jeb could unite the Republican Party with a late candidacy; is more conservative than his brother George W. Bush; Jeb has already criticized Palin as a rival candidate might; Jeb published an editorial on Jan. 3, 2011 taking credit for saving Florida public schools with vouchers.||Jeb's only chance is if there is a deadlock at the Republican National Convention. Jeb says he does not intend to run in 2012, although it is common for politicians to say that but decide differently later. Jeb knows that he would be viewed negatively by some as the "third" Bush, but everyone expects him to run at some point and he's not getting any younger. Jeb is disliked by some Tea Partiers, but not as disliked as Romney.||Moved to #1 with the inability of any other candidate to win a majority, thereby increasing the likelihood of the winner being chosen after several ballots at the convention. Romney's weak performance on Feb. 7th make him look less formidable than he did earlier in the race. Jeb will not want to wait until 2020 to run, which may be his next opportunity if a Republican wins in 2012 amid the persistent high unemployment.|
|Mitt Romney||Preferred by RINOs and heavily favored by the Establishment; has business experience and was a Republican governor of a Democratic state who cut taxes and the deficit. Big money backs Romney in a big way, enabling him to benefit from millions of dollars in negative ads against his opponents, especially Newt Gingrich. Mitt came in second in Iowa, first in New Hampshire, a distant second in South Carolina, first in Florida, lost three states to Santorum on February 7, then won in Arizona and took half of Michigan's delegates on February 28. Has received endorsements from moderate-to-liberal Republicans, such as Bob Dole, John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, John Thune, Jon Huntsman, Chris Christie, Dan Quayle, Nikki Haley and Tim Pawlenty. Won the 2012 CPAC straw poll.||Has big weaknesses with "Reagan Democrats," making it unlikely Romney can win the general election: Romney has a pro-abortion record and favors big corporations; Romney also continues to believe in liberal propaganda claiming global warming and is criticized for standing behind his ObamaCare-like health plan in Massachusetts, which featured "the mandate" and taxpayer-funded abortion. The lack of criticism of Romney by the lamestream media suggests that they want him to win so that they can defeat him in the general election.||Was defeated by a landslide in South Carolina, despite being endorsed by foreign policy hawks John McCain and John Bolton. Romney has been strong in most of the debates and in national polling but hasn't reached 51% in any state. The majority of Republican voters are apparently still looking for an alternative.|
|Rick Santorum||Stongly conservative across the board, family man, well-received by evangelicals. He has received a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee for his pro-life voting record during his time in the Senate. The NRA has given him an A+ lifetime rating for protecting 2nd Amendment rights.||Almost certainly began as a stalking horse for Mitt Romney, hoping Mitt will appoint him to a government position, and may now be seeking to be Romney's VP. Rick's all-out support of RINO and now-Democrat Arlen Specter prevented Pat Toomey from defeating him in 2002, although he regretted it at CPAC 2010; Santorum endorsed Romney in 2008 rather than more conservative candidates. Santorum's tax plan has been criticized for adding even more people to the number not required to pay federal income taxes, and he's been criticized for supporting earmarks while in the Senate.||Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a former U.S. Senator, switched his endorsement from Romney to Santorum on Feb. 17; Santorum is leading in several national polls. He is fabulous in debates and television interviews. Won an upset victory in the Iowa Caucuses, but was an also-ran in the New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida primaries before rebounding to win Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado and take half of the Michigan delegation.|
|Newt Gingrich||The pro-life candidate most opposed by liberals due to his political effectiveness in accomplishing conservative goals. Newt is the only contender who stands up forcefully to liberals and to the lamestream media. His debate performances have earned him a reputation as the Republican most capable of winning debates against Obama. Newt had the early backing of Fox News before John McCain backed Mitt Romney instead, which caused Fox News to switch sides. Newt has by far the strongest record of achievements of any candidate, including passing conservative legislation that included welfare reform, DOMA, the Solomon Amendment, and even term limits. Newt also had the courage to shut down the government. His story of overcoming being orphaned is inspirational. Has been endorsed by conservatives such as Fred Thompson, Rick Perry, Michael Reagan, and Herman Cain.||His many decades in public life make him vulnerable to negative political ads. His personal life has been criticized: his first marriage was annulled, and he's been married twice since. Ron Paul is particularly critical of Newt, although many of Dr. Paul's supporters are likely to prefer Newt over Mitt Romney.||Rousing debate performances the week of Jan. 17th in South Carolina led to a landslide victory for Gingrich in the South Carolina primary. Prior to that, his strong debate performances and the weaknesses of other rivals to Romney had already pushed Gingrich up to #2. Despite having led in most polls conducted in late 2011, he lost the #1 spot on Dec. 24th due to the toll taken by attacks from the media and other candidates and his failure to qualify for the ballot in Virginia even though he lives there and was in first place in its polling. His strategy of criticizing the media in the debates has been brilliant. There remains an opportunity for conservatives to rally behind Newt. Gingrich needs big wins in the South on Super Tuesday, March 6. See: Gingrich Administration for an analysis of his assumed Cabinet.|
|Sarah Palin||The second most likely to win if neither Mitt, Newt, nor Rick Santorum can win a majority of delegates. Sarah is empathetic, attracts crowds, is personally pro-life, is a fiscal conservative, and has a record of supporting upset victors in primaries; had a popular television series and book tour that emphasized the grassroots rather than the "inside the Beltway" mentality. Relies heavily on Facebook.||Her taxation policies were somewhat liberal. Appointed a former Planned Parenthood board member to the Alaska Supreme Court and inexplicably resigned early as governor; lagged in fundraising despite publicity, came in a disappointing fifth in the Values Voter Summit in September 2010 and fared badly at CPAC. Several of her prominent 2010 candidates (Ken Buck, Joe Miller, Christine O'Donnell) struck out on Nov. 2nd, and many Republicans from George W. Bush (allegedly) to Peggy Noonan have been critical of her running for president. Frequently mocked by the liberal media.||Announced on October 5 that she would not be a candidate for president in 2012. Marist poll conducted September 13-14, showed that a large majority of Republicans didn't want her to run.|
|Ron Paul||Terrific on economic issues, can raise the money needed to win; people may look to an anti-war Republican; Won the 2011 CPAC Poll. Appeals to many social liberals. Runs pro-life ads while Romney says little about the issue. Also, Obama's support in polls is lowest when Paul is his opponent.||Voted twice to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which the vast majority of Republican primary voters support; his age (76 in 2012) will be used against him; has never won statewide office; his views on the war on drugs and the military also alienate many Republicans. Other candidates have adopted some of his economic ideas. The media in general treats him as a non-contender despite his performance in polls and the early voting.||Surprisingly, won the Values Voter Summit straw poll in a landslide in Oct. 2011.
Finished a strong third in Iowa's caucuses and second in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, and Washington.
|Rick Perry||Announced his candidacy late, on August 13. He is a conservative-talking governor who has run Texas for a decade (since George W. Bush became president); crushed RINO Kay Bailey Hutchison in the 2010 primary and then won a landslide in the general election, carrying others to victory on his strong coattails; has an excellent jobs record in his State and which he can contrast with liberal-run states. Strong religious faith that he is not afraid to show. Understands the concept of states' rights. Is a formidable fundraiser.||Pulled out on the eve of the South Carolina primary, so his only chance is to be selected at the Republican National Convention. But he may be more conservative in his rhetoric than his policies; endorsed RINO Rudy Giuliani in 2008; tried by executive order to force all schoolgirls (except for parental opt-outs) to receive the HPV vaccine; raised business taxes while governor; supports exceptions for allowing abortion; and continues to champion a Texas policy that allows in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Did poorly in the Values Voter Summit straw poll.||Stumbled in his first major statements on abortion, same-sex marriage, and illegal immigration. Was ahead in national polls after his declaration of candidacy, then fell dramatically following a series of poor debate performances that raised doubts about his electability. Suspended his campaign on January 19 and endorsed Gingrich.|
|Michele Bachmann||A movement conservative who "knocked the ball out of the park" with her nationally televised response to Obama's State of the Union address in January 2011, Bachmann is popular with the Tea Party movement; she is a strong fundraiser and won a stunning 52-40% landslide in 2010 in a liberal-leaning district in Minnesota. Did very well at CPAC in Feb. 2011. Bachmann's beliefs are similar to Ron Paul's, but she is more of a conservative than a libertarian and tried to appeal to Ron Paul fans who agree with him on domestic matters but still want a strong military. Thus, a Bachmann candidacy had the potential to unite Tea Party conservatives.||Stopped her campaign on Jan. 4, 2011. When she was a contender in the polls, liberal bias was at its worst against her.||Had done extremely well in the debates, particularly the first one, and held #1 in Zogby poll of primary voters at one point. Won the Ames Straw Poll but was upstaged by Rick Perry's declaration of candidacy on the same day. Slipped badly in the polls thereafter. Tireless campaigning and strong debate performances earned her renewed respect but only small gains in the polls. Bachman withdrew from the race one day after a poor finish in the Iowa caucuses. Is seeking reelection to the US House of Representatives.|
|Jon Huntsman, Jr.||Has foreign policy and executive experience. Appealing to moderates, although this is because he holds numerous liberal stances.||Quit in mid-January 2012. Other negatives include how he worked in the Obama administration; criticized the economic stimulus package as not being big enough, favors Comprehensive Immigration Reform, supports civil unions, and is a believer in man-made global warming; the "civility" candidate adored by the media for being more willing to attack his fellow Republicans than the Democrats.||Getting little support nationally, except among the media and multiple Democrats. Bypassing Iowa, Huntsman put his all into the New Hampshire primary and finished third. He announced that his candidacy would continue but dropped out of the race less than a week later.|
|Herman Cain||Seems less scripted than other candidates. A former successful Godfathers Pizza CEO, conservative radio host, Tea Party favorite, tremendous speaker, triumphed over a health problem. Won a stunning landslide victory in the Florida straw poll on September 24 that led to an October surge. Finished second in the Values Voter Summit in Oct. 2011 and took the lead in several national polls.||His 9-9-9 plan for tax reform and economic recovery helped him gain a nationwide following but also drew fire for introducing a new federal tax resembling the tax of the left-wing European Union. Cain has had few staff and little organization in the early primary and caucus states. Has never held elected office. Stated on CNN that abortion should be a decision of the family and not the government.||Cain suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011, several days after stating his wife was unaware of gifts and money he had given to a woman who had alleged a 13-year long sexual affair with him. He denied any wrongdoing. His candidacy may have been damaged by inexplicable lapses during televised interviews as well as by charges of sexual impropriety.|
|Thad McCotter||Congressman from Michigan who is sometimes promoted by Fox News, and does not need to read from a teleprompter to give a speech.||Thad who? Not enough people know who he is. Twice this year voted against ending the preference for union labor in government construction projects. Could have been seeking name recognition rather than the Republican nomination.||Never rose above 1% in polls. Ended his campaign on September 22, 2011.|
|Tim Pawlenty||Young; popular in his home state of Minnesota; Had a surprisingly good record on immigration.||Still not well known outside of Minnesota; signed $893 million in meddlesome fees/taxes including a "health fee" for cigarette smokers (which was ruled unconstitutional), a harvest fee for farmers, a 9-1-1 fee on all telephone lines, a fee for traditional marriage, and large increase in parking fees; supported the liberal cap and trade; accepted stimulus funds after arguing against them; lacks a socially conservative base; arranged a meeting with a liberal medical society in 2003 in order to cave into the pro-abortion side by downplaying medical harm caused by abortion, despite hard-fought passage of the Woman's Right to Know Act mandating disclosure. Came off as drab and uncompelling. He endorsed Mitt Romney after he ended his own bid.||Lost ground after a perception of underachieving in the first debate June 13; then his criticism of Michele Bachmann seemed to backfire with her rebuttal in the second debate. Pawlenty finished third in the Iowa Straw Poll and quickly announced that he was ending his bid for the nomination.|
|Marco Rubio||A movement conservative who could unite the Party, he is the most charismatic speaker in politics today; in the general election he would pull Florida and many Hispanic voters away from the Democrats. Both of his parents were Cuban exiles at the time of his birth in Miami, making his an inspiring, uniquely American success story. Many Republican voters think he would be the ideal candidate for Vice President.||Could face the liberal double standard on three fronts: 1) what's OK for Obama (e.g., inexperience) is somehow not OK for a conservative. 2) Liberals who have been deriding the strict definition of "natural born citizen" which some conservatives have been applying to Obama might also turn around and use the same logic with Rubio, claiming that his non-citizen parents invalidate his natural-born status. 3) Rubio's restatement of the exact year in which his parents arrived in the USA has been seized upon by Democrats hoping to hurt him with Hispanic voters and also get even with Conservatives for questioning Obama's place of birth.
||Declared on October 5 that he will not be a candidate for Vice President. Won the 2012 CPAC straw poll for Vice President anyway.|
|Mike Huckabee||Pro-life in rhetoric, pro-Second Amendment and pro-Bible; strong in polling, particularly among evangelicals||Announced on May 14th that he's not running; was stuck at 20-30%; as governor raised taxes and state spending; released man who later killed officers; disliked by CPAC-types and by Club for Growth; supported the cave-in by the Republican leadership to continue funding Planned Parenthood (the nation's largest abortion provider) as part of the budget deal in April 2011. Has ruled himself out of contention.||Losing relevancy|
|Rand Paul||Could be the next Ronald Reagan; is the heir-apparent to massive support for Ron Paul; won the U.S. Senate seat by a 56-44% landslide in 2010, despite an intense effort by liberals to smear and defeat him; is 100% pro-life. Failure of Congress to cut spending enhances likelihood that voters will turn to someone strong on reducing government.||Rand, immensely popular after his landslide victory for Senate, will not run for president unless his dad drops his own campaign for the same office. Time is running out for Rand to assert himself as the candidate in 2012.||Supporting his dad's run for President.|
|Allen West||'America First' conservative patriot, Lt. Col West knows leadership from experience. He won the Florida U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 2010 Midterm Elections, and kept a high profile ever since. Sports a crew cut, usually rises above petty inside the Beltway bickering, and carries a camouflage bag rather than a briefcase||New to national politics, not well known and maybe a future presidential candidate beyond 2012.||A terrific congressman|
|Jim DeMint||Strong support by social conservatives, libertarians, Tea Party, and evangelicals; a tenacious advocate willing to criticize Obama||Stated at a conservative conference in July 2010 that he is not running for president, but after Mike Pence pulled out in Jan. 2011 Jim DeMint appeared to show interest again, before announcing in late March 2011 that he was not running.||Definitely not running now.|
|Ken Cuccinelli||Has won statewide office. Leader in challenging ObamaCare, advancing pro-life principles, and opposing the global warming hoax, including investigating Liberal University of Virginia's involvement in the Climategate scandal. Wants to stop the homosexual agenda prevalent at the University of Virginia and other Virginia universities.||Only 42 years old, he'll probably become governor of Virginia before running for president. Not as frequent a speaker at Tea Party events as others, such as Steve King and Michele Bachmann. Also, Cuccinelli may be more influential on domestic policy in his current position than a president is.||Running for governor in 2013.|
|Bobby Jindal||Conservative Governor of Louisiana, strong critic of Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill in the summer of 2010.||Says he's not running for president. Has endorsed Perry.||Made a good statement on birth certificate issue|
|Mitch Daniels||Signed a law that defunds Planned Parenthood, has been an effective Rust Belt governor and critic of the Obama administration, promoted heavily by neoconservatives||Stated in May 2011 that he's not running for president. Sided with Democrats in 2011 in opposing right-to-work legislation, is little known nationally, was criticized when he tried to downplay significance of social issues, is not telegenic, lacks a socially conservative base, and his state budget relies heavily on gambling revenue. Has chastised conservatives for calling Obama a socialist.||Although not a candidate for President, he has declined to rule out accepting the nomination for Vice President.|
|Steve King||A conservative Iowa congressman who could win the Iowa caucuses; resonates well with independents; recommended by Bachmann||Not well known yet; has never won statewide office.||Once thought likely to endorse Michele Bachmann, he has declined to endorse anyone. Will stay in the House.|
|Mike Pence||Communicates a very strong conservative message: "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." Won straw poll held at the Values Voter Summit in September 2010. On Nov. 3rd, gave up his House leadership position. Has since announced a run for Governor of Indiana in 2012.||Announced on Jan. 27, 2011 that he's not running for president; previously he unsuccessfully proposed a "comprehensive" immigration plan that was widely criticized by conservatives; lacks legislative achievements; not well-known and has never won statewide office; either he or Huckabee could become a stalking horse for Newt Gingrich with respect to evangelical voters in Iowa||Focusing on the Indiana governorship|
|Todd Akin||A movement conservative from Missouri, which he serves as a congressman||Running to win a U.S. Senate seat from a liberal instead||Gaining in ability to defeat an incumbent liberal senator|
|Bob McDonnell||Won landslide election as Virginia governor; has Obama's height||Not widely known yet, but gave Republican response to State of the Union in 2010; seemed more conservative as a candidate than as governor||Falling into obscurity but may re-emerge as a Vice Presidential contender because of Virginia's importance as a swing state that Obama won in 2008.|
|Rudy Giuliani||Widely respected for his post-9/11 leadership in New York City||Struck out completely as a candidate in 2008; very weak on important social issues; cross-dressing for comedic purposes when it suited him||A throwback to an era and issues that matter less now|
|Dick Cheney||Prominent and consistent opposition to Obama||Of dubious health; has explicitly disavowed interest in running||Not running|
|John Bolton||Expert on foreign policy and national security issues ||Polarizing figure that Democrats refused to appoint to permanent UN position||Has ruled out running.|
|Fred Thompson||Former Republican Senator from Tennessee, former presidential candidate, has a loyal following||Hollywood type, sided with McCain in campaign finance laws that the Supreme Court overturned.||Not running|
|Scott Brown||Proven ability to appeal to moderate voters even in a blue state||Inexperience; already voting with the Democrats in the Senate; voted to repeal DADT, will not repeal Obamacare.||Is running for re-election to the Senate|
|Haley Barbour||Rose in ranking based on the victory of his choice as the new RNC chairman; has a conservative record as governor of Mississippi but is rarely seen at conservative conferences. He was a consummate lobbyist and could raise many tens of millions for a campaign.||A Deep South Republican, Barbour seemed unable to attract independent voters. He announced in late April 2011 that he is not running.||Isn't running|
|John Thune||Defeated Tom Daschle, relatively conservative voting record for a senator; also taller than Obama, and enjoys broad support||Announced on Feb. 22, 2011 that he's not running; may lack an essential "fire in the belly"; voted for TARP financial bailout and McCain-Feingold campaign finance; no-show at some conservative events; hasn't effectively criticized Obama; could simply become a stalking horse candidate for Gingrich, brought 100 million worth of earmarks in a spending bill, then awkwardly claimed he backed the projects but opposed the bill.||Not running|
|Jan Brewer||In 2010, stood up to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on issue of illegal aliens||Caved in to the liberals in vetoing legislation requiring a birth certificate to get on the presidential ballot for Arizona in 2012; if Brewer ever was conservative, she seems increasingly less so||Not even conservatives support her after all her vetoes of good bills this year. Has endorsed Mitt Romney.|
|George Pataki||Well known former 3-term Gov. of New York. Has a track record of tax cuts||RINO candidate, Pro-abortion, had health issues in the past, not very compelling||Not running|
|Peter King||Conservative congressman from New York that supports Pro-life, energy independence, free trade, expand border fence, battles Muslim extremists in the USA by Homeland Security position.||Fiscal conservatism lacking: voted for TARP, Cash for Clunkers, CHIP. He is also a co-sponsor of SOPA. King tends to support bills that enable the federal government to become larger and more intrusive.||Seems more focused on his Homeland Security position in the House than any Presidential aspirations|
The Chess Game for the Republican Party
The short form analysis is this: it probably requires a minimum of $25 million in campaign funds to win the nomination, and more if the candidate lacks a strong conservative base. Many of the candidates are probably looking to big fundraisers for support, but they are unsure of whom to back. Karl Rove, with all of his contacts from the Bush years, may be able to raise $20 million for a candidate; Haley Barbour might be able to raise even more. Fox News and its allies can raise eight figures also, as they helped reelect John McCain as senator in 2010.
The fundraising obstacle is no problem for Mitt Romney. Ron Paul could sustain his campaign as he did in 2008, relying heavily on the internet. Rick Perry has some fundraising strength. Newt Gingrich may be able to raise funds if promoted by the Fox News Channel. But others lacking in a strong base will struggle unless they can obtain the support of either the Bush/Rove group, or Barbour's network, or Fox News and its allies.
There are three key steps to the Republican nomination: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Mitt Romney won both the Iowa caucus (although Rick Santorum nearly tied him) and the New Hampshire primary. Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary.
There are four basic components of the Republican Party. To win the nomination, a candidate needs to obtain the support of at least two out of four:
- social conservatives (pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Republican Party platform)
- libertarians (lower taxes, less government, pro-market, anti-union)
- religious voters (Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, evangelicals, Mormons)
- neoconservatives (foreign intervention, "better" government)
In 2008, John McCain won the nomination by capturing the support of 1 and 4 above. Ron Paul had the support of 2. Mitt Romney enjoyed support by 2 and part of 3. Mike Huckabee had support of 1 and part of 3. The division of 3 by Romney and Huckabee caused them to block each other: Huckabee blocked Romney in Iowa, and Romney returned the favor in New Hampshire. This dynamic prevented either from winning the nomination.
In 2000, George Bush won with the support of 1 and 3. But John McCain enjoyed the support from 2 and 4 and this enabled him to win the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, giving Bush a close contest. Some felt McCain mishandled his victory in Michigan.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan had the support of 1 and 2.
Potential Democratic Candidates
While shortly after the 2010 Midterm elections a McClatchy-Marist survey revealed 46% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independent voters said they don't want President Obama to face a Democratic primary challenge, with 45% saying they do want such a challenge to occur, no serious challenge has emerged. As of early 2012, it is too late for another Democrat to launch a campaign for the Presidency. Nevertheless, 40% of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democrats say they prefer a more conservative challenger, while 39% say they want a challenger who is more liberal.
The most likely thing that would remove Obama from the 2012 ticket would a court ruling ineligibility due to not being a natural born citizen. However, as Obama will use all his political power to delay this as long as possible, it is unlikely such a decision would come before the November election. Depending on the timing of this, it is likely he would automatically be replaced by his successor, Vice President Joe Biden.
Popularity of Obama
A Quinnipiac University survey released after the 2010 Midterm elections indicated that a plurality of Americans don't think Obama deserves to be re-elected to a second term, and an Associated Press-GfK survey in the same time span indicates that 54% believe Obama should be voted out of office in 2012. Former DNC chairman Ed Rendell suggested on MSNBC, liberal anger over Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan could lead to a primary challenge.
More recent polls show Obama running close to even with his most likely opponents. 
The New York Times reported many liberals are so upset over recommendations by the Deficit Reduction Commission which President Obama himself created after the Democratic controlled Congress voted the idea down, "if Mr. Obama were to embrace its major parts, he would invite a primary challenge in 2012." Clarence B. Jones, who was a personal advisor, legal counsel, and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has called for a primary challenge to President Obama.
|Barack Obama||Ability to compromise and act in a spirit of bi-partisanship when his back's against the wall and career on the line; he's not Hillary Clinton, and he receives enduring support from the media. Has the historical benefit of being the incumbent.||He depends on a teleprompter to speak, and has run the nation into the ground. Numerous broken and unfulfilled campaign promises, implementation of socialist Obamacare program. Maybe uphill without help from ACORN.||Heavily promoted on MSNBC.|
Others who might have run, but have decided not to
|Hillary Clinton||Her criticism of Obama's massive deficits hinted at a possible run against him in 2012, and Ted Kennedy cannot interfere with her nomination this time; moreover, waiting until 2016 is unattractive because she will be 71 then. A recent Bloomberg poll shows she has a 64% approval rating, higher than any other national political figure. Tested the waters with Bill backing a challenger to Obama's Colorado Senate candidate (who then lost), and by Hillary saying she won't serve a second term as Obama's Secretary of State. The chances of Hillary running and winning the nomination increase with every decline in Obama's approval ratings.||Has stated numerous times that she will not seek an elected position once she leaves her current position as Secretary of State. Her feminism is disliked by conservatives, but is popular with liberal women. She'd lose the general election as Martha Coakley did.||Disfavored on MSNBC.|
|Randall Terry||Pro-life, and ardently so, unlike most Democrats. Will make this issue, which most Americans agree with, the cornerstone of his campaign. Is a conservative, and argued in favor of Terri Schavio's family in the case to allow her to live.||Only recently joined the Democrats, in order to run against Obama in the primary; largely seen as a 'joke' candidate by most people; no media attention, and he likely will never get a chance to go up against Obama in a debate.||Disfavored on MSNBC, when he's mentioned|
|Russ Feingold||His dedication to progressive causes rivals that of Obama, Feingold now has the time to run since his defeat in the 2010 midterms.||Considered a maverick and reformer within the Democratic party.||Disfavored on MSNBC.|
|Howard Dean||Liberal media personality, politician with physician's license and a former Vermont governor. Opposed Obamacare in its current form, and declared that government cannot force people to buy health insurance.||Progressive/Socialist/Marxist philosophy combined with numerous public gaffes. Dean ran in the 2004 presidential elections.||Heavily promoted on MSNBC.|
|Bernie Sanders||Has pledged to "do whatever I can" to thwart compromise and thinks the President's legislative proposals are "an absolute disaster and an insult to the vast majority of the American people."||Genuine out-of-the-closet Socialist, will need to formally register as a Democrat.||Has appeared on MSNBC.|
|Evan Bayh||Democratic base sees Bayh's retirement from the Senate as "a symbol of what's wrong with the party" as moderates are increasingly marginalized. ||Lags behind Obama in fundraising. ||Has appeared on MSNBC.|
|Dennis Kucinich||Outspoken critic of Obama's escalation of the War in Afghanistan, sellout of the public option and tax cuts for the rich.||Perennial favorite of special interests, particularly AFSCME, lacks popular support and a wider appeal.||Promoted on MSNBC.|
|Alan Grayson||Could do well to rally the progressive base in the anti-war early primary and caucus states of Iowa and New Hampshire.||Ethical concerns over his 2010 failed reelection bid for the House.||Heavily favored on MSNBC.|
Independent Candidacies -- Mike Bloomberg or Donald Trump
The man who spent $185 per vote to garner 51% of the vote to remain as Mayor of New York City in 2009, Mike Bloomberg, is increasingly looking like an independent, self-funded candidate for president in 2012.
$185 per vote times 50 million voters equals $9.25 billion, which Bloomberg can easily afford as one of the richest men in the world. The catch is that 50 million Americans are not as likely to be persuaded by self-funded campaign ads as 51% of New Yorkers were. Also, it is possible that money is becoming less influential in campaigns, not more so. The most likely result from a Bloomberg candidacy would be a split in the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda vote with the Democratic nominee, facilitating election of the Republican nominee.
Donald Trump is also considering an independent bid for president, particularly after he changed is party affiliation in December 2011 to "unaffiliated". What a difference a few months make. In April 2011, Trump was tied for first in the Gallup Poll among Republican contenders. He forced Obama to take seriously voters' concerns over his birth certificate, and was willing to criticize liberal media; he has business savvy and resources as a billionaire and is well-known. His unscripted, abrasive and arrogant style may be just what voters want, and not being a career politician helps his cause. But he is rightly criticized for his ego and has never held elected office. He would needs to explain his previous support of liberal policies such as socialized medicine, as well as donating to various Democrats including Harry Reid in the past.
|Green Party||Roseanne Barr||Was critical of Barack Obama in 2008 while she supported Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Party nomination and Cynthia McKinney in the general election. Supporter of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Threatened rich people with either "re-education" or execution.|
|Libertarian Party||Gary Johnson||The former Republican two-term governor of New Mexico, Johnson favors legalizing marijuana, expanding legal immigration and allowing same-sex unions. Given Ron Paul's libertarian campaign for the Republican nomination and the exclusion of Johnson from most of the debates, there was little room for Johnson as a Republican this election cycle. He announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's nomination on December 28, 2011.|
- For the primary schedule, see http://www.2012presidentialelectionnews.com/2012-republican-primary-schedule/
- 2012 Primary Debate Schedule
- In a Newsmax interview in February 2010, Jeb criticized Palin by saying, "my belief is in 2010 and 2012, public leaders need to have intellectual curiosity." 
- Herman Cain Suspends His Presidential Campaign Susan Saulny and Robbie Brown, December 3, 2011, The Caucus: The Political and Government Blog of the Times, NYTimes.com, retrieved December 3, 2011
- Duluth News Tribune: Fees soar as state taxes hold steady (2006)
- Jim Demint has the best favorable-unfavorable rating of anyone at CPAC 2010.
- POLITICAL INSIDER: John Bolton weighs a WH run, Breitbart, September 10, 2010
- Traditionally commentators have referred to the three legs of the Republican Party: the values voters, the small businessmen, and the national security supporters. While that model still has support, it fails to account for recent shifts (such as the Tea Party Movement) and the impact of new media (such as FoxNews).
- Hillary Clinton approval rating jumps to 64%., September 17, 2011. October 1, 2011.
- Evan Bayh For President? Senator May Be Eyeing White House Run, Ryan Grim, Huffington Post, 02-15-10.
- "An Anti-War Challenge to Obama in 2012: The Case for Alan Grayson", Politics Daily, 12-28-2010.
- As of April 22, 2011.
- Trump 'Seriously Considering' 2012 Presidential Bid, FOXNews, October 5, 2010